Resources for Health Care Providers
Every health care provider can play a critical role in helping to end this pandemic. Find resources below, and let us know if you have questions.
Reporting COVID-19 Cases
Please use the COVID-19 Confidential Morbidity Report to report a case of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Testing in Health Care Settings
For the most current recommendations regarding testing, refer to the CDPH Updated Testing Guidance: Updated COVID-19 Testing Guidance (ca.gov) and the CDC: Resources for Laboratories Working on Coronavirus (COVID-19) | CDC
Laboratory-based PCR testing is the most sensitive and specific of the available COVID-19 testing options.
Point-of-Care (POC) tests (both antigen and molecular) are of varying sensitivity and specificity. Please be aware of the sensitivity and specificity of the specific brand of point-of-care test before it is used. Generally in the health care setting, a POC test must be confirmed with a laboratory-based PCR test only in the case of a negative antigen test in a symptomatic individual. An individual in such a situation must be directed to self-isolate pending the result of the laboratory-based PCR test.
For asymptomatic screening testing in high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care, sports, dormitories), testing should be conducted at a minimum of once per week. Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the preceding 90 days should NOT participate in asymptomatic screening testing.
COVID-19 Testing for Medical Providers. Please use the COVID-19 Testing Referral Form to request testing for medical providers in SLO County.
No-cost community testing sites are available across San Luis Obispo County. These sites provide laboratory-based PCR testing for the public, by appointment. See locations and sign up for a free COVID-19 test.
Outbreak Response Testing and Other Testing Support. For consultation regarding response to an outbreak, please contact Rick Rosen, MD at [email protected]. For questions regarding testing support and supplies, please contact Amber Carbo at [email protected].
Clinical Presentation and Symptom Screening for COVID-19
CDC and CDPH continue to recommend regular symptom screening for patients, visitors, and staff in the healthcare setting. For updated tools to assist with symptom screening and the current list of COVID-19 symptoms, refer to the CDC's COVID-19 symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
It is not unusual to see rapid deterioration in patients one week after illness onset. In those individuals who experience acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), median time from symptom onset is 8-12 days.
Criteria for Release from Isolation
Providers may refer to the isolation guidance when advising patients on their isolation duration:
Hospital Discharge Reporting Process of Confirmed COVID-19 Patients
The County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department (PHD) asks all hospitals in the county to report any confirmed COVID-19 patient discharges. Approval from the PHD is not required for discharge.
When discharging confirmed COVID-19 patients to long-term care facilities (SNF, ICF, AL, ARF), the hospital must first consult with the facility to confirm their ability to take the patient. If unable to find a long-term care facility that will accept the patient, please report this in your email or phone call.
Prior to discharge, hospitals will fax the following information to (805)781-5543 or call (805)781-5500 to report the following information:
Date of Birth
Discharge Destination (Home or Facility Name)
Symptoms Present OR Asymptomatic?
Anticipated Discharge Date If the patient is being discharged to a long-term care facility (SNF, ICF, Assisted Living, ARF)
After being informed of the discharge, Public Health Department staff will contact the receiving long-term care facility and ask them the following questions:
Confirm patient that is being discharged (Patient Name & DOB)
Does the facility have the PPE resources necessary to care for this patient?
If not, what PPE resources does your facility need to care for this patient?
Does the facility have the capability to isolate the patient?
Does the facility have sufficient staffing to be able to care for this patient?
Infection Prevention and Control / Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
In the health care setting:
- All patients and all staff in a health care/clinical setting should be directed to wear face coverings for source control when indoors and other people are present.
- N95s should be made available to all staff for all clinical situations.
- Eye protection (face shields or goggles) should be made available to all staff for all clinical situations.
Protect yourself: Minimum personal protective equipment (PPE) recommendations for health care providers caring for suspect or confirmed COVID-19 patients:
Minimum PPE Recommendations
Contact with patients with known or suspected COVID-19 (includes both isolation and quarantine units)
- N95 or higher-level respirator
- Eye protection
- Gloves if hands-on activities with patient (e.g., physical exam, procedure) OR aerosol-generating procedure
- Gown if close contact with patient (e.g., moving patient from bed to chair, helping patient with bathing) OR aerosol-generating procedure
Contact with patients in whom COVID-19 status is not known
- Surgical facemask or higher-level respirator
- Eye protection IF level of community transmission is moderate or high (greater than or equal to 5 cases per 100,000 population)
Performing aerosol-generating procedures or inducing cough with patients in whom COVID-19 status is not known
- N95 or higher-level respirator IF level of community transmission is moderate or high
- Surgical facemask or high level respirator IF level of community transmission is low (less than 5 cases per 100,000 population)
- Eye protection IF level of community transmission is moderate or high
- Gloves IF level of community transmission is moderate or high
See CDC guidance for detailed guidance on Sequence for Putting On and Safely Removing PPE.
If you are exposed without adequate PPE: Health care workers who are not fully vaccinated who have been exposed to a suspect or confirmed COVID-19 patient without the minimum recommended PPE should be excluded from work for a minimum of 10 days after exposure or a minimum of 7 days with a negative test on or after day 5. However, if the health care worker is asymptomatic, they may continue to work if options to improve staffing have been exhausted and their occupational health program has been consulted. In such a case, the post-exposure, asymptomatic health care worker must wear a face mask while at work for 14 days after the exposure. If the worker develops even mild fever or respiratory symptoms, they must cease patient care activities and notify their supervisor or occupational health program.
This guidance may be modified as conditions change.
Additional Resources for Health Care Providers
COVID-19 Provider Health Advisories for San Luis Obispo County
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Guidance for Health Care Facilities
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance for Health Care Providers
Other COVID Therapies
The COVID-19 vaccine offers the best defense against the virus that causes COVID-19. In addition to the vaccine, some other therapies may help your patients if they get sick with COVID-19.
Other COVID Therapies
Every health care provider can play a role in connecting patients with vaccine and helping end this pandemic. The Public Health Department has dedicated resources to support you.
To receive State doses, local providers, medical groups, health systems, multi-county entities, pharmacies, and HRSA community health centers will enroll in myCAvax. Your application will be reviewed and verified by CDPH prior to approval. There are grant funds available to help offset costs through CalVaxGrant.
How We Can Help
SLO Public Health can provide an in-person enrollment coach, if needed, to walk you through each step of the myCAvax enrollment process. We can also provide your clinic with technical assistance and staff training on vaccine storage and handling.
Contact Jennifer Shay if you would like our free, expert assistance.
CalVaxGrant: Find out if you are eligible for $11,000 in funds! Application opens July 12, 2021 and closes August 13, 2021. Funding is first-come, first-served basis, so don’t delay. Visit www.CalVaxGrant.org more information.
The Before You Enroll fact sheet provides an overview of what is required to become a provider of COVID-19 vaccine. When you’re ready, complete the Provider Enrollment Worksheet (gather required data before logging in). Visit the California COVID-19 Vaccination Program and Network for all enrollment requirements, forms, and resources to administer COVID-19 vaccines to your patients.
Questions about reimbursement for COVID-19 vaccine administration? See the CMA’s COVID-19 VACCINE TOOLKIT FOR MEDICAL PRACTICES, and visit the CMA COVID page for more information.
Healthcare personnel of all types can have a powerful influence on their families and communities, which is why it’s critical that they are well-informed about COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccine confidence and uptake among your staff is also important for the health of your patients, coworkers, and community. The following communication resources are specifically designed for engaging health care personnel.
How We Can Help
SLO Public Health is available to come to your office to discuss COVID-19 vaccines with your staff and to answer their questions in a friendly and non-judgmental way. We can also provide you with print materials, such as posters and handouts (see below). Contact Jennifer Shay if you would like our free assistance.
Communication Tools from the CDC
COVID-19 Vaccine Communication and Confidence Checklist: Summarizes all the communication resources and toolkits available from the CDC to engage staff.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Conversation Starter: Tips and key messages to engage health facility/clinic staff at different levels to identify practical ways to promote vaccine confidence and support high vaccine uptake.
COVID-19 Vaccine Basics: What Healthcare Personnel Need to Know. This presentation educates healthcare personnel about basics of COVID-19 vaccines, what to expect if they get vaccinated, how the safety of vaccines is monitored, and the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination.
Building Vaccine Confidence in Health Systems and Clinics: Tips for Immunization/Vaccine Coordinators. This presentation focuses on what immunization coordinators can do to build vaccine confidence within their health system or clinic. Information about COVID-19 vaccines, safety monitoring, and elements of vaccine confidence is also presented.
COVID-19 Vaccines: How Do We Know They Are Safe: Video from HHS demonstrating that millions of people in the US have received COVID-19 vaccines, and these vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.
Digital and Print Communication Resources
These digital and print communication resources can be printed and posted in health facility common areas and other employee locations to foster conversation and make vaccination information visible.
Printable stickers for staff to wear once they’ve received their COVID-19 vaccine. Compatible with full-sheet sticker paper or standard precut 1 2/3” labels. View and Download COVID-19 Vaccine Stickers (also available in Spanish)
Health care providers play a critical role in helping your patients understand the importance of COVID-19 vaccination and assuring them that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
Your strong recommendation is critical for vaccine acceptance. Your answers to their questions matter and will help them make an informed decision about getting a COVID-19 vaccination.
See other content available to our partners.
How We Can Help
SLO Public Health can provide you with print patient handouts and posters for your clinic. Contact Jennifer Shay if you would like our free assistance.
Our mobile vaccine unit can come directly to you to administer vaccines to up to 200 patients.
As part of the County’s Health Equity Initiative, applications will be prioritized for regions and communities that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
To host a mobile clinic at your site, your organization agrees to:
- Identify individuals who want to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (Age 18+)
- Guarantee 25 - 200 appointments (Smaller organizations are also encouraged to inquire. We may be able to combine your event with other groups or help in another way.)
- Distribute consent forms and assign appointment times
- Provide space for the clinic
- Provide shade, chairs and water for the observation area
For more information or to request a mobile clinic, please contact [email protected].
Sharing your own personal thoughts and experience with the COVID-19 vaccine is impactful for the people in your care and the community as a whole. Speak at community events or engage the local media and encourage other physicians to do so as well.
Include one of our video PSAs about the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines or what to expect at your vaccine appointment in your next newsletter. Offer to answer questions about the vaccines, or direct them to our FAQ page.
How We Can Help
SLO Public Health has ready-made social media posts from www.TheSocialPressKit.com/SLO-County, or let us know what tailored content we can make for your messaging channels. Contact Jennifer Shay if you would like our free assistance.
Recent state health officer orders require booster doses for heatlh care workers in California.
See details on the Orders & Guidance page.
To schedule a booster dose or see appointment options, see the Where to Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine page.